According to Wikipedia:

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his translation of a selection of poems, originally written in Persian and numbering about a thousand, attributed to Omar Khayyám (1048–1131), a Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer.

Was Edward FitzGerald the first to collect these poems together and publish them in a unified work, or had there been previous published volumes (in any language) of collected works of Omar Khayyám? I'd always assumed the Rubaiyat was the magnum opus of Khayyám himself, rather than being gathered together long after his death by someone else, but am I wrong?

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    Dunno about the authenticity of this site, but omarkhayyamrubaiyat.com/rubaiyat.htm claims: "There is no direct evidence that Omar Khayyam was the author of any of the quatrains attributed to him. There are no original manuscripts of the Rubaiyat extant and no evidence from his contemporaries, or in the years immediately following his death, of poetic activities by Khayyam." and goes on to describe where FitzGerald got the poems from.
    – muru
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 6:21

1 Answer 1


It can depend on how you read the word "collected", and also how genuine you believe FitzGerald's version - with its omissions and insertions - to be.

11th century - 12th century The Rubaiyat had been popular in Persia since the 11th century. They were occasional verses, but there is nothing found to show they were brought together and published as a collection.

13th century 13th century manuscripts have been found, and used to identify several hundred additional verses, but this is scattered across multiple publications, without a single defining collection.

15th century The volume that changed everything, Ousley's Persian volume is dated 1460. This seems to be the best bet for the earliest collection in any language. And it is the one FitzGerald had a copy of on which to base his collection.

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